One animal rights group is hoping star power from a well-known Latina actress will help in their calling for the retiring of Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium.
At a scheduled press conference Tuesday, Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo will urge tourists to boycott the attraction until the park releases the orca into a coastal sanctuary.
The event will come with the premiere of a new video the actress filmed for the animal rights group PETA promoting their efforts.
Seaquarium officials released a statement Tuesday saying it would be "reckless and cruel to jeopardize Lolita's health and safety by moving her from her home of 46 years."
"An actress looking for publicity and an activist organization committed to the elimination of zoos and aquariums are not experts when deciding what is best for Lolita the killer whale. She is healthy and thriving in her home of almost 46 years where she shares her habitat with Pacific white-sided dolphins. There is no scientific evidence that the approximately 50 year-old post-reproductive Lolita could survive if she were to be moved from her home at Miami Seaquarium to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest," Seaquarium General Manager Andrew Hertz said in a statement.
The 20-foot long, 7,000 pound creature has been living at the park since 1970, when the then six year old orca was captured off the coast of the state of Washington. Protesters have argued that Lolita is being treated cruelly by the Seaquarium – including being housed in a tank that is smaller that guidelines set for her size.
Several lawsuits against the park have been filed over the past few years, with each being dismissed. In 2015, Orca whales were placed on an endangered species list – but Lolita was exempt from that ruling since she is a captive animal.
"Miami Seaquarium is not willing to experiment with her life in order to appease a fringe group. These individuals will never be satisfied with the care she receives," Hertz said in the statement. "Lolita is part of the Miami Seaquarium family and is as active and healthy as ever, a true testament to her care."